Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Lennox, Scherer, and the giant floating forest hypothesis

While first reading "God's Undertaker" I noticed a reference to "Evolution - ein kritisches Lehrbuch" by Professor Siegfried Scherer. I'll admit I didn't pay it much heed at the time - the review was already unwieldy in length, my German was rusty, and tracing down every last error would have been something of a time sink.

But a couple of months later I amused myself with a dictionary and skimmed a few pages of the book Lennox had used to justify the following quote:

"Siegfried Scherer of the Technical University in Munich suggests that living things can be classified in certain basic types – a classification slightly broader than that of species. A ‘basic type’ is defined to be a collection of living things connected either directly or indirectly through hybridization, without regard for whether the hybrids are sterile or not. This definition incorporates both genetic and morphological concepts of species, and, according to Scherer, research so far indicates that ‘in the whole experimentally accessible domain of microevolution (including research in artificial breeding and in species formation), all variations have certainly remained within the confines of basic types’." -God's Undertaker, Page 109
I'd thought that the 'basic type' sounded suspiciously like the Biblical 'kind', used by Creationists to mean something between species and clade, meandering between both possible definitions depending which chapter of Genesis was at stake.

Here's my own translation of a paragraph within the book, taken from Scherer's website:
But I do not primarily believe in Creation because life to me suggests a creator, and certainly not because the theory of evolution has not answered central questions.
Even the best scientific arguments cannot prove God, cannot truly ground belief.
I believe in Creation because I trust the central testimony of the New Testament: The Creator has become man, has worked through His word enormous natural miracles, has been executed, and is risen from the dead.
If this is true, then I can also believe that the world came in to existence through the scientifically analysed yet mysterious, hidden, omnipotence of the word of God"
As a rule giving sacred text primacy over scientific endeavour tends to lower my opinion of folk claming to to science. Still, I give Scherer some credit for honesty, for disliking Intelligent Designers, and for taking a position so diametrically opposed to that of Lennox's. I'm also quite grateful that he has chosen to publish some work in English for Creation.com: Too much coal for a young earth?

In it he attempts to marry his belief that the earth is less than 11,000 years old with the knowledge that we have vastly more coal than one could produce in that time.

The entire document could be read as a damning inditement of Germany's lax stance on hard drug use. He proposes vast, floating forests. Each tree will have hollow, floating roots, supplying sufficient buoyancy to keep the trunk aloft. This hypothesis assumes that the innumerable trees will be sufficient to dampen any winds, thereby protecting the fresh water in which they float from disruption by the surrounding sea. Then, waves that allowed the wooden, buoyant ark to survive would have to break up and sink the forests in precise patterns with accompanying dividing layers of sediment to match our current pattern of coal dispersal. Here's a rather good rebuttal by an old earth Creationist - at the risk of stating the obvious I do not endorse Biblical inerrancy and old earth Creationism. Still, a rather good site in its own way.

In my recent talk on street preachers I said something along the lines of the following:
"Lennox quoted an anti-evolution book by Professor Siegfried Scherer - Evolution - ein kritisches Lehrbuch. As luck would have it I speak some German so I checked him out. He claims that the earth is seven and a half thousand years old, and when asked why there is so much coal present he came up with this work of genius."
It was correctly pointed out to me that this could create the impression that Lennox endorses the giant floating forest hypothesis, and that he too considered the earth to be only a few thousand years old. I apologise - this was unintentional. I meant merely to imply that Lennox is happy to cite the most absurd nonsense if he feels it will give his own work credence.


Anonymous said...

"The entire document could be read as a damning inditement of Germany's lax stance on hard drug use."
LOL hilarious.
Have you got round to reading Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola?

David George Taylor

Pakman1983 said...

I have to say I have an appreciation for creation scientists who say that their belief in a creator is derived from scripture and not scientific evidence. It cuts out a long and frustrating conversation where you try to disassemble their flimsy arguments and instead allows you to dismiss them straight away and saves us all a lot of time.